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Trojans deliver another loss

Wednesday’s tennis match between the UCLA men’s tennis team and the crosstown rival Trojans, a rematch of an early season contest between the two Los Angeles tennis juggernauts, turned into a case of same teams, same results.

On Feb. 14, USC, ranked No. 1 in the country at the time, handily defeated the Bruins 4-0 in the National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va.

And on Wednesday, on UCLA’s home courts at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, a place that the now No. 5 Trojans (12-1) hadn’t won in over a decade, USC conjured up another dazzling and dominating performance, defeating No. 6 UCLA, 6-1.

Although Wednesday’s match was certainly more competitive than the two teams’ first meeting, the Bruins (6-3) were unable to pull out any close matches in doubles or singles, namely due to a large amount of unforced errors.

“We fought a lot harder … but we just had way too many unforced errors,” UCLA coach Billy Martin said after Wednesday’s loss. “In doubles and singles, we were just shooting ourselves in the foot.”

A crucial point coming into Wednesday’s match, and every college tennis match, was which team would be able to capture the doubles point. But for the second time this year, the Trojans were able to squeak out the doubles point, giving them the early 1-0 lead heading into singles, which is USC’s strong suit.

“I think we’re experienced enough to know that it doesn’t make it easy, but you can still come back,” Martin said about losing the doubles point.

And singles did not prove to be much better for UCLA, with the Bruins losing five of six singles matches, including four three-setters.

“We lost all the three-setters which is disappointing,” Martin said. “We still have some work to do and I think we’ll still get better and we got one more chance against them. But definitely today, they were the better team.”

Martin’s players also realized how important it was to nab the doubles point from ‘SC, which has one of the deepest singles lineups in the nation.

“Every time we’ve beaten ‘SC, we’ve won the doubles point,” said UCLA junior Nick Meister, who tallied the Bruins’ lone point with a 6-3, 6-3 singles win on court No. 5. “I just didn’t think we came out firing enough. I thought if we got the doubles point, the momentum would go through to singles.”

“But they’re stacked from one to six, so four singles wins is a lot to ask,” Meister added. “There was a stage at the end of the doubles point where I felt like we had the momentum and it was about to open up for us, but things didn’t go our way. When it’s a roller-coaster ride, then it becomes who has more guts.”

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